Tag Archives: 1981

1981 Topps Fergie Jenkins

1981 Topps Fergie Jenkins

Yet another Fergie Jenkins card that I can add to my growing collection!!!  I am getting very close to owning all of Fergie’s cards from the 1980’s. 

This card design is fair.  In my opinion, if they had made the border either of the Rangers Blue or Red colors the card would work much better.  To me, the Green really detracts from the overall look of the design.

Did Fleer Ever Have A Chance?

I don’t know how long Fleer has been out of the baseball card business, but in my opinion they never really gave themselves a great chance to capture the collector’s heart or dollar.  I’ve kind of bashed Fleer here and here, so I am going to try to provide constructive criticism this time around.

What I want to do is break down the first 6-7 issues that Fleer came out with when they entered ‘our world’ of baseball cards.  In my opinion, they did very little to draw us in, and when they did the feeling only lasted for brief moments and it could have been one of those ‘too little, too late’ scenarios…

Check this out:

In 1981 Fleer’s first baseball card set was released.  Like any new start-up company it was nice to see some competition.  And anyone who had been collecting Topps found either a new company to go after as well or found a foe.  Either way, the debut product was not too bad.  The design was basic and lacked character, but the expectations of a new company back in 1981 shouldn’t be too high.  The card lacked action photography and used quite a bit of the ‘cheesy baseball poses’ that you often find in cards of little league kids, but this could have a lot to do with the technology that Fleer had available to them back in ’81.

One year later with the 1982 product, Fleer took a step backwards.  With virtually the same card design, they removed 2 key elements that should be part of ‘Baseball Card Design 101’.  Gone was the team logo as well as the Fleer logo.  Brand recognition is huge in all aspects of Marketing and Advertising, and Fleer made a huge mistake as a start up company by not putting their logo in the consumer’s face each chance it got.  Still very little action photography.  And when it was done, they tended to cut out the background action and just leave the player as the focus.  Sometimes it went as far as not even showing the feature player’s full photo.

The 1983 Fleer product was voted ‘Worst Design of the 1980’s’ by my readers.  Fleer switched to a color border, and made a terrible color choice by avoiding traditional baseball colors and using one that is dull.  Their action photography improved, yet it was used little.  They did the right thing by bringing back the team logo as well as the Fleer trademark.  But, this was now the 3rd year in a row that Fleer issued a card with the same basic design, which surely bored the collector.

In 1984, Fleer took a departure from their base design and finally got on board with creativity.  Although the 1984 Fleer product was not the best looking card issued in ’84 it was a big upgrade for Fleer.  The simple design highlighted by a true ‘baseball blue’ pattern was the right move.  This upgrade took 4 years to get to, but finally made their product stand out from previous issues.  The 1984 Fleer set was the second set I built as a kid-collector and I really started to like the Fleer product once I saw these cards.  The photos had evolved to be on par with the other brands, and their use and placement of the team logo really stood out against the background of the card.

1985 was Fleer’s most innovative design to date.  Their incorporation of the team colors really made this design a winner.  While still using quite a bit of posed/non-action photography, the colored borders and team concept of the card made the overall design work very well.  Fleer’s ability to create new and never seen before designs with the ’84 and ’85 product made us forget about the monotone issues that preceded these in the early 80’s.  Fleer was on track to break through and become a force in the hobby of baseball card collecting.

Then, it happened.  They did exactly what they needed to avoid.  The 1986 Fleer product was an exact duplicate of what they had issued in the early 1980’s.  Gone was the unique design.  Gone were the bright colors.  Gone were the sharp photos.  Instead, Fleer took steps backwards and reissued the 1983 set again with a new color border.  For starters, a dark navy border is a terrible choice as it makes all of the pictures look darker.  Not only that, but the ’83 issue had already been a re-hash of the ’81 and ’82 sets. 

So here were are after 6 years in the business and Fleer has issued to us a new product each year.  The catch is that 4 of the 6 designs look virtually the same.  I remember having albums and albums of my favorite players, and the Fleer stuff just blended together.  If it hadn’t been for the sweet and new looks of the 1984 and 1985 sets, who knows if they would have even made it through the 1980’s…

Cast Your Vote: Best Baseball Card Design From the 80’s

That’s right.  2 weeks ago we looked at the worst designs that the 80’s had to offer so it is now only fair to do the opposite and praise the best looking cards from the 80’s as well.

So here we go.  I have selected what I consider to be the cream of the crop from this group.  Leave a comment on this post to cast your vote!

I have intentionally left Score and Upper Deck products out of this category as their quality for their first issues in the late 80’s was superior to what Donruss and Fleer introduced in the early 80’s.

The contenders are:

1980 Topps

1980 Topps

 

1983 Topps

1983 Topps

 

1985 Topps

1985 Topps

 

1987 Fleer

1987 Fleer

 

1988 Donruss

1988 Donruss

 

1988 Fleer

1988 Fleer

 

1989 Topps

1989 Topps

1982 Fleer Has No Equals…

In one of my more recent blogs, I wanted the readers to vote on the ‘Ugliest Cards From the 80’s’.  You can read that blog here.  The 1983 Fleer card was the biggest loser, and it was for good reason.

But the more I began to think about this, one of my readers(Gerad) mentioned the 1982 Fleer set because it lacked the Fleer logo.  Initially it didn’t effect me, but his comment makes complete sense to me now.

Check out a sample:

OK.  I work for a direct-to-consumer company.  I have worked there for 8 years and prior to that I was in retail management for another 7 years.  I think I have a pretty good understanding of customer expectations due to my personal experience.

Branding is everything!!!  It really is just that simple.  This card illustrates the exact opposite.  Nowhere on the front of the card do you see the Fleer logo.  Nowhere on the front of the card do you see the team’s logo.  The front of the card is as important as the window of a department store.  It’s a tool that should be used to draw in the customer and Fleer did not do this.  Signs, banners, logos, and color all get attention.  It’s clear that Fleer(wow that rhymes) had a license to produce items with MLB logos otherwise Ripken’s logo on his jersey and hat would have been removed.  But to not include them in the design of the card is just plain dumb.

The logo means everything.  Picture Nike without the Swoosh.  Picture Coca-Cola cans without their famous script signature.  Hell, picture Coors beer without the Rocky Mountains in the background.  All of these companies use specific logos and placement with their products.  Even if it is not the thing that draws you in, you subconsciously see the logo and are comforted that you are dealing with a quality product.

The problem is that these companies are and have been well established.  Fleer on the other hand was in it’s infancy stage in the early 80’s and should not have abandoned the logo they used in 1981, or at least used a new one with the 1982 issue.  This card reminds me of a plain business card with black type.  No frills, nothing fancy… There is nothing to draw you in.  There is no connection to a team.  How did they expect to captivate an audience and pull people towards their product and away from the competition?

What I am saying here is not news.  This is common practice in the Advertising and Marketing world.  Brand recognition is the most important thing to offer any consumer and Fleer failed miserably…

Thanks again Gerad for shining a light on the ‘Ultimate Dud’, 1982 Fleer.

Cast Your Vote: Ugliest Card from the 1980’s

I’ve wanted to do this for a while now.  Most of the stuff I am trying to collect is from my favorite baseball stars from the 80’s.  Obviously this has led me to find some unbelievably ugly cards.

So now I turn this over to you.  I have presented 8 cards from the 80’s below and want you to vote on which is the ugliest from that decade.  I have limited this to just the major brands.  You will only find base cards here, no inserts or secondary sets.

To vote, simply add a comment to this post and I will then take the 2 cards getting the most votes and have a final competition to crown “The Ugliest Card from the 1980’s”.

And the nominees are(in year order):

1981 Donruss

1981 Donruss

1982 Fleer

1982 Fleer

1983 Fleer

1983 Fleer

1984 Fleer

1984 Fleer

1984 Donruss

1984 Donruss

1986 Topps

1986 Topps

1987 Topps

1987 Topps

1989 Fleer

1989 Fleer

A Few More Rickey Henderson Cards Added to My Collection

I picked these 2 Henderson cards up today.  Rickey Henderson is one of my favorite all-time players and I am going to see what I can scoop up from his early years before he gets voted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.

I will primarily go after his cards from the 1980’s when he played with the Oakland A’s and New York Yankees.

Here’s what I got today:

1981 Fleer – The same picture is used twice in this set.  Once for the base card(this one) and once for the Stolen Bases card.  I love the vintage pose on this card.  I think I have a picture of myself doing a similar pose from when I was in Little League…  LOL!

1982 Topps – I’ve always been a big fan of the ‘League Leader’ cards.  I know that they have not all been a hit in the hobby, but I enjoy looking back to them to remember the history of what these players accomplished.  This card features the Stolen Base leaders from the 1981 season.  Both Henderson and Raines are rocking the old-school uniforms while somehow keeping their afro’s under their hats.

5th Purchase – ’79, ’80, 81 Dave Winfield

Today I picked up 3 new Dave Winfield cards.  This guy had the rare ability to do it all in the game.  He was an offensive and defensive superstar!  Winfield is one of my all-time favorite players and I am going to tryto build a set of all of his cards from the 70’s and 80’s. 

For these 3 cards, there is nothing missing.  Sweet old-school uniforms, pork chop sideburns, and a very handsome mustache!!!  You’ve got to love the 70’s….

1979 Topps Dave Winfield

1979 Topps Dave Winfield

 

1980 Topps Dave Winfield

1980 Topps Dave Winfield

 

1981 Topps Dave Winfield

1981 Topps Dave Winfield